Immersed in Christ: July 1, 2020
Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm tells us it is what we do in our lives, not what we say in our religious ceremonies, that gives us the experience of being one with God: “To the upright I will show the saving power of God” (Psalm 50).
Amos 5: 14-24 calls us to make a conscious and conscientious connection between what we say and do: being conscious of what we are saying when we pray; being conscientious about living out what we express to God in worship.
There should be no distinction between our religion and our spirituality. “Religion” (inauthentic) can be a “system” or structure of beliefs and practices that do not really engage our conscious mind and heart in deep, personal response to God. We can just affirm what we are taught to believe without thinking about it very much. We can take part in religious ceremonies, saying the words, doing the actions, without being alert that we are speaking to God or communicating with him person-to-person. Even the priest presiding at Mass can read the words of the prayers without consciously and personally addressing God as present. Teresa of Avila says that if we are not conscious of who we are when we speak to God, and to whom we are speaking, it is not prayer at all, “no matter how much the lips move.” All true prayer is conscious, person-to-person interaction with God present and listening.
The “ministry of light” consists in giving conscious expression to the divine life of God within us: letting our faith, hope and love “take flesh” in words and actions that become increasingly consistent with each other. We listen to our words to live them out in action. We look at our actions to see if they verify our words. This is both the expression and the experience of God’s presence in us: “To the upright I will show the saving power of God.”
Not everyone is comfortable being conscious of God’s presence. In Matthew 8: 28-34, when the citizens of Gadara realized that Jesus had divine power, they “implored him to leave the neighborhood.” Maybe they were afraid they might lose more pigs! More likely, they were just afraid of the unknown. They wanted to just keep living on ground level, without delving into what might be above or below them. They were not interested in mystery nor open to it. Are we like them?
The “ministry of light” opens our eyes and others’ to what is most real and least visible: God’s presence and action within us. When we let God express himself in and through our physical words and actions “we show the saving power of God.”
Initiative: Be a priest. Express mystery in consistent words and actions.